Frank Lampard believes his two-goal performance for Chelsea at West Ham on Saturday has banished the notion that his days as a free-scoring midfielder are behind him.
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Jon Obi Mikel’s inclusion in the Blues lineup released Lampard, 35, from the more reserved role he has been asked to fill by manager Jose Mourinho in recent weeks.
And judging by his performance, the England international clearly relished the freedom he was given at Upton Park during the 3-0 victory.
“I do love getting forward and I appreciate it when the manager does give me that licence,” Lampard told Chelsea’s official website. “I just play where the manager tells me to. We’ve got a lot of attacking talent in the team and the manager has got to try and get the best out of that.
“I’m playing pretty regularly at the minute and I feel fit and strong. I want to show that I am good enough to carry on playing and I’ll try to do that. I don’t want to be a passenger sitting on the bench not doing much, even in my older years.
“As you get older, you adapt your game and you probably don’t bomb up and down as much as you always did. But you can use your experience, and whether you’re deeper or not if you’ve got a little bit of licence to get forward, then you can do at the right times.”
Lampard believes the unpredictable nature of this season’s Premier League title race means the mistakes that Chelsea have made in the opening third of the season are not as fatal to their hopes as they could have been.
“No-one has caught fire, maybe Arsenal have and we’re in touching distance of them still,” he said. “We are in a position where we want to improve, we want to be challenging to win the league and I think we’re in a good spot to do that.
“When Jose was first here we were five or 10 points clear at certain times, but it’s a different league now. There’s a lot more competition so you can’t walk away with it but we’re right in there with a shout.
“Saturday’s win was how we want to play. That’s the benchmark. I think there’s room for improvement with us and we will do that because we’re aspiring every day to improve. As long as we do that and show performances like the one on Saturday then we will do well.”